“People will take any hill, walk into the worst situation, if they have faith in your leadership and know what your strategy and objectives are,” – Edward D. Breen
During tough times, companies need strong leadership. This can be a challenge on those days when we just want to run away! ECA offers some approaches to leading when it would be easier to do just about anything else.
- Check your emotions and return to logic.
How can you encourage others unless you feel encouraged? Check your own coping strategies and be sure you are somehow recharging yourself. The emotions you convey as a leader are contagious to your team, especially any sense of stress or frantic emotion. When emotions flare, give yourself time to shift back to logic. Take deep breaths. Excuse yourself for a moment if you need to. Break bad news calmly without downplaying the situation’s seriousness. Resist the temptation to point fingers, as it’s counterproductive and will result in a team steeped in distrust.
- Be as transparent as possible with staff, then get to work.
Promise to keep employees in the know, and keep your promises. If you withhold information your team may fear the worst, turning feelings of uncertainty into desperation. After sharing updates, keep the team focused on the work you all are there to do rather than worrying about what they can’t control.
- Don’t go it alone.
Find advisors and mentors, and draw partners in close. There are days you might prefer to fight the battle solo, or even hide, but it’s time to do just the opposite. You must assemble a team to know you are dealing with the present obstacles as best as possible. Be very selective in who you work with, choosing positive problem solvers. Surround yourself with people who have experience beyond your own. If you don’t have these people, reach out to ECA because we also play matchmaker.
- Nourish your company culture.
High-stress times are notoriously rough on culture — it’s the area most likely to be compromised in a challenging climate. Company culture is what binds any healthy company together, and is of significant interest to employees when considering their options. It’s vital that you continue giving energy to the culture because it’s the lifeblood of your expanded operation.
- Help your team move forward.
Come together to set priorities, then goals. Get everyone working toward recovery or comeback efforts. Take time to acknowledge even tiny steps of progress.